Thursday, February 19, 2009

Strong Success in Violence Reduction

The Chronicle ran a very positive story on the SFPD's presentation before the Police Commission last night. There are tangible gains, the product of a focused deployment strategy.
Gun bloodshed dropped sharply in San Francisco in the first year of a police effort to focus crime-fighting efforts on the city's five hardest-hit areas, authorities said Wednesday

Nonfatal shootings were down 35 percent both citywide and in the five neighborhoods, which police said was a sign that stepped-up enforcement wasn't simply driving violence into other areas. "It was down 35 percent in the zones, 35 percent citywide," said Deputy Chief Kevin Cashman, who is in charge of the department's patrol efforts. "We didn't displace gun violence."

There were 11 nonfatal shootings in the Tenderloin in the past year, compared with 25 the year before - a drop of 56 percent. Homicides declined from nine to seven. Police credited drug enforcement and more officers walking beats in the mid-Market Street area with reducing bloodshed there.

The results were also dramatic in the Western Addition, where nonfatal shootings plunged more than 73 percent - from 34 in the year before the police campaign began to just nine in the 12 months ending Feb. 4. Homicides dropped from seven to five.

A court injunction that the city obtained against three gangs in the area, barring members from gathering in public or being out late at night, has been "very effective" in reducing Western Addition violence, Cashman said.

In the Mission District, the increased enforcement kept an outbreak of gang violence last fall from being worse than it was, Cashman said. "A potential gang war was averted," he said. Nonfatal shootings dropped from 34 to 25, a decrease of 26 percent; while homicides dropped from 13 to eight.

In the Bayview District, homicides dropped 30 percent, from 20 to 14, but nonfatal shootings were down by only two - 47 this past year, compared with 49 the year before. In Visitacion Valley, the number of homicides dropped to five, from 10 the year before. Nonfatal shootings were down 33 percent, from 30 to 20.